Palestine and The UN in Retrospect: The Eighties
(Part 5 of 6)
This is the fifth in a series of six retrospects, listed chronologically by decades, looking back at the most important events related to the question of Palestine that have taken place at the United Nations (U.N.) since the inception of the organization in 1945. These events have greatly influenced both the history and the present of the Palestinian people and will affect their future also, as the permanent responsibility of the U.N. towards the question of Palestine must be upheld until it is solved in all its aspects.
On 1 March 1980, the Security Council adopts resolution 465 (1980), taking note of the reports of the Commission of the Security Council established under resolution 446 (1979) to examine the situation relating to settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem; accepting the conclusions and recommendations in those reports; determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, have no legal validity; and calls upon the government and people of Israel to cease on an urgent basis the establishment, construction and planning of such settlements. (The resolution was adopted unanimously, however, the next day the U.S. declared that it had intended to abstain.)
The Security Council adopts resolution 468 (1980) on 8 May 1980, which calls upon Israel to rescind the measures taken against three Palestinian leaders - the Mayors of Hebron and Halhoul and the Sharia Judge of Hebron and to facilitate their immediate return. That same month, it adopts resolution 469, strongly deploring the failure of the government of Israel to implement resolution 468 and calling upon Israel to rescind the measures against the expelled leaders.
The Security Council, on 5 June 1980, adopts resolution 471 (1980), expressing deep concern that the Jewish settlers in the occupied Arab territories are allowed to carry arms thus enabling them to perpetrate crimes against the civilian population, calling for the immediate apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes; and condemning the assassination attempts on the lives of the Mayors of Nablus, Ramallah and Al-Bireh. This resolution also calls again upon the government of Israel to respect and comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the resolutions of the Council, and calls once again upon all states not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with the settlements in the occupied territories.
On 30 June 1980, Security Council resolution 476 (1980) is adopted, which reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem; reiterates that all measures taken by Israel which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council; and reaffirms the Councils determination in the event of non-compliance by Israel to examine practical ways and means in accordance with relevant provisions of the U.N. Charter to secure full implementation of the resolution.
The seventh emergency special session (ESS) of the General Assembly convenes in July 1980 to consider the Question of Palestine following the failure of the Security Council, because of a U.S. veto, to act on the recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which had been endorsed by the General Assembly. At an earlier date, the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement had taken a decision to convene an emergency special session on the matter. Resolution ES-7/2 is adopted on 29 July 1980, calling upon Israel to begin complete withdrawal by November 1980 from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem; resolution ES-7/3 is adopted as well, requesting the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to study reasons for Israels refusal to comply with relevant U.N. resolutions.
On 20 August 1980, in resolution 478, the Security Council, censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the "basic law" on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions; affirms that the enactment of the "basic law" constitutes a violation of international law and does not affect the continued application of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June 167, including Jerusalem; decides not to recognize the "basic law" and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem; and calls upon all members of the United Nations to accept this decision and upon those states that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City.
In November 1980, the General Assembly adopts resolutions 35/13 A, B, C, D, E, F on UNWRA, extending its mandate, endorsing assistance to the Palestine refugees, calling for grants for higher education, and calling upon Israel to permit the return of displaced refugees, including those removed from camps in the Gaza Strip. *
The General Assembly, on 14 November 1980, adopts resolution 35/35A, B emphasizing the importance of the universal realization of the rights of peoples to self-determination and national sovereignty and condemning Israels expansionist activities in the Middle East. *
Resolution 35/75 is adopted by the General Assembly on 5 December 1980, condemning the Israeli policies resulting in the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, and calling upon all states to cooperate with U.N. agencies in alleviating the tragic living conditions. *
On 5 December 1980, the General Assembly adopts resolution 35/110, emphasizing the right of the Arab states and peoples whose territories are under Israeli occupation to full permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. *
The General Assembly, on 11 December 1980, adopts resolution 35/122, condemning the Israeli practices affecting human rights in the occupied territories, calling for the return of expelled Palestinian leaders and condemning Israeli actions in the Syrian Golan Heights and with regard to repression against Palestinian universities. *
General Assembly resolution 35/147 is adopted on 12 December 1980, urging the establishment of a nuclear-free-zone in the region of the Middle East. *
On 15 December 1980, the General Assembly adopts resolution 35/169 on the Question of Palestine, reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, rejecting those provisions of the Camp David Accords which ignore or violate their rights, calling for the participation of the PLO in deliberations on the Middle East, and rejecting Israels "basic law" on Jerusalem. *
General Assembly resolution 35/206 H, of 16 December 1980, condemns the continuing and increasing collaboration by Israel with the racist regime of South Africa. That same day the Assembly adopts resolution 35/207, condemning the continued Israeli occupation and annexation of Arab territories, rejecting partial agreements, declaring the need for the Palestinian people, under PLO leadership, to attain their inalienable rights, and condemning Israeli aggression against Lebanon. *
On 19 December 1980, the Security Council adopts resolution 484 (1980), expressing grave concern at the expulsion by Israel of the Mayors of Hebron and Halhoul and declaring it imperative that they be enabled to return.
General Assembly resolution 36/8, of 28 October 1981, condemns the apartheid, racist, and discriminatory policies pursued in southern Africa, the occupied Arab territories and elsewhere, including the denial of the right of peoples to self-determination and independence.
Also on 28 October 1981, the General Assembly adopts resolution 36/15 demanding that Israel desist immediately from all excavations and transformations of the historical, cultural and religious sites of Jerusalem, particularly beneath and around the Holy Sanctuary of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, endangering the Holy Sites of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
The 7th ESS of the General Assembly resumes in April 1982. Resolution ES-7/4 is adopted on 25 April, condemning Israel for its policies in the occupied territories, urging states not to provide Israel with assistance, and urging the Security Council to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
On 5 June 1982, the Security Council, in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, adopts resolution 508 (1982), which calls upon the parties to the conflict to cease immediately and simultaneously all military activities within Lebanon and across the Lebanese-Israeli border. On 6 June, the Council demands the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon in resolution 509 (1982).
The 7th ESS resumes in June 1982 and resolution ES-7/5 of 26 June is adopted, demanding a cease-fire in Lebanon and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.
In resolution 515 (1982) of 29 July 1982, the Security Council demands that Israel immediately lift its blockade of Beirut. Security Council resolution 518 (1982) of 12 August 1982 demands that Israel and all parties to the conflict cease all military activities and that restrictions on supplies to Beirut be lifted immediately.
The 7th ESS resumes in August, adopting resolution ES-7/6 of 19 August 1982, which calls for the free exercise of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, demands that Israel carry out previous resolutions of the General Assembly relating to the occupied territories, and urges the Secretary-General to take measures to guarantee the safety of the Palestinian and Lebanese civilian populations.
In resolution ES-7/7, also of 19 August 1982, the General Assembly decides to convene an international conference on the Question of Palestine, and resolution ES-7/8 of 19 August decides to commemorate innocent children who are the victims of aggression.
Israeli incursions into Beirut, in violation of the cease-fire agreements, are condemned by the Security Council in resolution 520 of 17 September 1982, which also demands that Israel return to its previous positions as a first step towards the full implementation of Security Council resolutions.
On 19 September 1982, the Security Council adopts resolution 521 (1982), which condemns the criminal massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut (Sabra and Shattilla); reaffirms resolutions 512 (1982) and 513 (1982), which call for respect for the rights of the civilian populations without any discrimination, and repudiates all acts of violence against those populations; and requests the Secretary-General, as a matter of urgency, to initiate appropriate consultations, in particular with the government of Lebanon, on additional steps which the Security Council might take, including the possible deployment of U.N. forces, to assist that government in ensuring full protection for the civilian populations in and around Beirut.
The 7th ESS resumes for the fourth and last time in the wake of the massacre in innocent civilians at Sabra and Shattilla in Beirut. Resolution ES-7/9 of 24 September 1982 urges an investigation of the massacre of innocent civilians in Beirut, demands a cease-fire in Lebanon and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory, and resolves that the Palestinian refugees should be enabled to return to their homes.
On 3 December 1982, the General Assembly passes resolution 37/43 on the rights of peoples to self-determination, which also reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
The General Assembly, on 18 December 1982, adopts resolution 37/222, affirming that Israeli occupation is contradictory to the social and economic development of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and that the exercise of their right to self-determination is a prerequisite for their social and economic development. *
On 29 August 1983, the International Conference on the Question of Palestine is convened at the U.N. Office at Geneva from 29 August to 7 September 1983. The Conference was opened by the U.N. Secretary-General, Javier Perez-Decuellar, and presided over by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Senegal, with the participation of the representatives of seventeen States and the PLO as full participant. 104 non-governmental organizations also attended and participated. The Conference was convened in implementation of resolution ES-7/7 and culminated five regional meetings. The Conference adopted the Geneva Declaration on Palestine and the Program of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights.
On 18 December 1984, General Assembly resolution 39/223 is adopted, calling for the lifting of Israeli restrictions on the economy of the occupied Palestinian territories, and calling for the establishment of a seaport in the occupied Gaza Strip. *
The Security Council, on 31 May 1985, adopts resolution 564 (1985), calling upon all parties concerned to end acts of violence against the civilian population in Lebanon and particularly in and around Palestinian refugee camps.
On 4 October 1985, the Security Council adopts resolution 573 (1985), condemning vigorously the act of armed aggression perpetrated by Israel against Tunisian territory in flagrant violation of the Charter of the U.N., international law and norms of conduct. (Air attack on PLO Headquarters in Hammam Al-Shut)
Security Council resolution 592 (1986) of 8 December 1986 strongly deplores the opening of fire by the Israeli army at Bir Zeit University, which resulted in the death and wounding of defenseless students, and calls upon Israel to release any person or persons detained as a result of recent events at the university.
General Assembly resolution 42/210B is adopted on 17 December 1987, under the agenda item "Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country", requesting the U.S. to abide by its treaty obligations and to refrain from preventing the discharge of the official function of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the U.N. The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to report any further developments.
On 22 December 1987, the Security Council adopts resolution 605 (1987), deploring the Israeli practices violating the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report containing his recommendations on ways and means for ensuring the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation. At a later stage, the Secretary-General submits a substantial report on the matter.
On 5 January 1988, the Security Council adopts resolution 607(1988), which calls upon Israel to refrain from deporting Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories and strongly requests it to abide by its obligations arising from the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Security Council resolution 608 (1988), of 14 January 1988, calls upon Israel to rescind the order to deport Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories and to ensure the return of those already deported.
On 2 March 1988, the General Assembly in a resumed session adopts resolutions 42/229 A and B. Reaffirming that the Permanent Observer Mission of the PLO to the U.N. is covered by the U.N. Headquarters Agreement and calling upon the U.S. to abide by this agreement. In resolution B, the Assembly decides to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the matter. Also on 2 March resolution 42/461 is adopted, deciding to keep under active review the dispute between the U.N. and the U.S. regarding the interpretation of the Headquarters Agreement.
On 23 March 1988, General Assembly resolution 42/230 is adopted, reaffirming that the PLO Observer Mission to the U.N. is covered by the Headquarters Agreement between the U.S. and the U.N., and that the PLO has the right to maintain premises in New York.
The General Assembly adopts decision 42/462 on 23 March 1988, deciding to continue consultations on the dispute between the U.N. and the U.S. regarding the interpretation of the Headquarters Agreement.
On 16 April 1988, Israel assassinates PLO leader Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) at his home in Tunis. The Security Council, on 25 April, adopts resolution 611 (1988) condemning Israels aggression perpetrated against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Tunisia.
On 26 April 1988, the ICJ issues its advisory opinion. The Court was of the unanimous opinion that the U.S. is under an obligation to enter into arbitration for the settlement of the dispute between itself and the U.N.
General Assembly resolution 42/237 of 13 May 1988 endorses the advisory opinion of the ICJ and urges the Host Country (U.S.) to abide by its international legal obligations and to act consistently with the advisory opinion of the ICJ.
A year after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada (uprising), the General Assembly adopts resolution 43/21 of 3 November 1988, condemning Israeli policies violating human rights, such as the deportation of civilians and collective punishment. *
On 30 November 1988, the General Assembly adopts resolution 43/28, in which it has been informed of the decision of the Host Country, the U.S., to deny a requested visa by the PLO for Mr. Yasser Arafat to participate in the 43rd Session of the General Assembly, and deplores the failure of the U.S. to approve an entry visa for this purpose. The following month, the Assembly adopts resolution 43/49 of 2 December, deciding to move consideration of the question of Palestine in the Assembly from New York to the U.N. headquarters in Geneva.
On 9 December 1988, the General Assembly adopts resolution 43/160 A, deciding that the PLO (and SWAPO) are entitled to have their communications issued and circulated directly, and without an intermediary, as official documents of the Assembly and authorizing the U.N. Secretariat to circulate those communications.
The General Assembly meets in Geneva and, on 15 December 1988, adopts resolution 43/177, in which it acknowledges the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council (PNC) on 15 November 1988, and decides that the designation "Palestine" should be used instead of "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the U.N. system.
On that same day, the General Assembly overwhelmingly adopts resolution 43/176, in which it calls for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the U.N., with the participation of the PLO, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination. The Assembly also affirms five principles for the achievement of a comprehensive peace.
The General Assembly resumes its session and adopts resolution 43/233 of 20 April 1989, condemning Israeli policies and practices and requesting the Security Council to consider the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On 6 July 1989, the Security Council adopts resolution 636 (1989), calling upon Israel to ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied Palestinian territories of those deported, and to desist from deporting any other Palestinian civilians. The resolution also reaffirms that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, and to other occupied Arab territories.
The Security Council adopts resolution 641 (1989) on 30 August 1989, deploring Israels continued deportation of Palestinian civilians.
These resolutions were repeatedly adopted by the General Assembly during following sessions.